Richard D. Russell is the composer half of Thompson & Russell. Emily Clare Thompson writes book and lyrics.
Called “… one of the leading teams of writers of theatre for young audiences” by BroadwayWorld.com, Thompson and Russell is Emily Clare Thompson, book and lyrics, and Richard D. Russell, music. Their biggest success to date is a production of It Takes A Rainbow at the 2017 Midtown International Theater Festival in New York City’s Off-Broadway district.
Richard won “Best Music” for that festival of over 80 shows, while Emily’s original script was nominated for “Best Book.”
Thompson and Russell produced that festival presentation, garnering a further win for “Best Set Decoration,” while picking up additional nominations for “Best Costumes” and “Best Ensemble”. The musical picked up great reviews from BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and others. (See the Reviews page for more.)
As a team, Emily and Richard participated in musical theater writing courses and workshops at ASCAP, the New School University, and Theater Resources Unlimited. Before they met, Richard had been part of the prestigious BMI Musical Theater Writing Workshop. They are also active clients of Tony Award winning producer Ken Davenport, where Richard is a member of Ken’s Mastermind group. They regularly attend various networking events for theater producers and writers. Both are ASCAPplus award winners for their collaborative efforts.
They met in 1999 at Mannes College of Music. Richard worked in the school’s administration and Emily directed the summer opera workshop program. Emily’s mother, Marian Thompson, a voice teacher at the college, introduced the two. Soon, Emily invited Richard to compose music for some of her original Shakespeare adaptations. (These musicals can be found on this website by clicking here.)
After three Shakespeare adaptations, Emily decided to try her hand at writing an original story, and the musical To A Muse was born. It was a great success, and the pair followed up with Cupid’s Bow. Continuing in the realm of myth and fantasy, the team decided to tackle the legend of King Arthur next, creating A Knight At The Round Table.
To date, Thompson & Russell have written seven original musicals.